Daymond John, "Titus O'Neil" named to Celebrity and Player Advisory Council

August 2, 2018 01:01 PM

By Arthur Kapetanakis

Two dynamic and charismatic personalities have joined forces with the USTA Foundation as the newest members of its Celebrity and Player Advisory Council.

Daymond John, “Shark Tank” star and FUBU co-founder, and Thaddeus M. Bullard, known as WWE superstar “Titus O’Neil,” were appointed to the council, chaired by Emmy Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin, on Thursday.

In their new roles, John and Bullard will serve as ambassadors and spokespersons to support the Foundation’s mission, increase its brand awareness and raise revenue to support its programs. The two will also lend their time by visiting National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters to speak with students on various topics related to sportsmanship, leadership, respect, responsibility, perseverance and the importance of striving for excellence in school and beyond.

The two men bring a diverse set of skills to the Foundation, thanks to John’s renowned entrepreneurship and mentoring background and Bullard’s athletic and philanthropic experience. 

John rose to prominence as a co-founder of FUBU more than 20 years ago and has displayed a relentless commitment to promoting and supporting entrepreneurs throughout his career. His work led to an appointment by the Obama administration as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. In that position, he traveled with the President to both Kenya and Cuba to help grow entrepreneurship and small-business opportunities. 

This new role presents a perfect opportunity for John to combine his love of tennis with his desire to make a difference in the community.

“As a New Yorker, the US Open has always been an iconic event that showcases our city, while producing what I believe to be the finest stage for athletes to compete on,” he said. 

“In the past few years, I have gotten to know the tournament and the sport beyond the matches. Through my support of the USTA Foundation, I’ve gotten to understand how their mission to change the lives of youth through tennis and education can lead to tremendous growth and opportunities for their futures. Being able to evolve from a young fan of the US Open to a member of the USTA Foundation’s Celebrity and Player Advisory Council is a tremendous honor and one that I am very proud of.”

Bullard, in addition to his wrestling fame, is a former NFL player and University of Florida football star. Through his Bullard Family Foundation, he has helped thousands of kids and families in his native Tampa Bay area. He has also been a longtime supporter of nationally and internationally known non-profit organizations, such as United Way Suncoast, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Special Olympics, helping raise millions of dollars for scholarships and for philanthropic groups and their respective missions.

As a prime example of the developmental impact sports can have on youth, Bullard is excited about the opportunity to work with the USTA Foundation on its mission to serve under-resourced youth.

“The ability to help grow the sport of tennis and enhance its vision and its accessibility to a more diverse group of individuals with the USTA Foundation will provide me with a mechanism and medium to provide others with the generosity and support that I received as a youth,” he said.

Both John and Bullard are highly sought-after public speakers, and their successful careers and engaging personalities make them ideal ambassadors for the USTA Foundation.

“The USTA Foundation is thrilled to bring on two outstanding individuals who represent the true essence of leadership that we encourage our NJTL students to strive for both on and off the court,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director of the USTA Foundation. 

“Their willingness to give back and engage with the students speaks volumes to their individual character off the screen and represents the driving force behind the formation of this council. I believe their efforts will certainly have a lasting and positive effect on our NJTL participants, and for that we thank them.”

The USTA Foundation Celebrity and Player Council, in addiiton to being led by Baldwin, also includes Emmy Award-winning journalist Katie Couric, tennis legend Billie Jean King, 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Chris Evert, 2017 US Open women’s singles champion Sloane Stephens, four-time Grand Slam singles champion and current U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier and 16-time Grand Slam men’s doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan, to name a few.



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